Woman sitting a bench in the park alone

Feeling Off is Normal Right Now

Humans are creatures of habit – we heavily rely on our daily routines to keep our internal systems feeling balanced and “normal.”

Which is why the simple act of staying at home to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is enough to affect our entire sense of well-being.

Changes in routines

For those that are now working from home, daily routines are significantly different. Without the need to factor in commuting times, you may be sleeping in later than usual – which means you may be eating on a different schedule and you may be eating differently than you normally would. And without the commute and the act of going somewhere, the structure of your day changes significantly.

For those that are essential workers, daily routines are also disrupted as practices at work may be different, additional safety measures are likely in place and social distancing is the norm.

“When your routine is disrupted, you don’t have those triggers that help set your cadence for the day,” said Dr. William Beecroft, medical director with Blue Cross Blue Shield Behavioral Health.

Changes in social interaction

Health and government officials have been adamant that social distancing is critical to reduce the spread of COVID-19; yet without those everyday social interactions and cues, you may also be feeling more uneasy.

With all the changes in our world due to COVID-19 like celebrating birthdays from our cars and covering our faces at the grocery store, it’s normal for people to feel a sense of grief and loss for the way our world was before, Beecroft said.

Though technology allows us to stay connected more than ever before – through phone calls, video chats and group meetings – our brains know it’s not the same as physically being together.

Be mindful of what you choose to substitute those social interactions with.

Warning signs to watch for

Monitor the behavior of yourself and those around you, as continued isolation and social disruption could cause depression and other mental health issues to flare up. If you experience most of the following symptoms during a two-week period, it is important to seek help:

  • Feeling sad, down or depressed
  • No sense of pleasure from activities that you typically enjoy
  • Difficulty falling asleep or difficulty falling back to sleep after waking in the middle of the night
  • Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
  • Weight gain or loss

If you have concerns about yourself or others, seek help. There are resources available, and many ways to connect to people who can help.

How to find help

To effectively put your mental health first, speaking to a trained professional is the best way to start. Many behavioral health providers are finding ways to connect virtually to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan insurance seeking help can find providers, including those participating in telehealth programs, by calling the BCBSM Behavioral Health Services phone number on the back of their member I.D. card.

Blue Care Network members can call the number on the back of their insurance card, (800) 482-5982 24/7, and get referrals for providers conducting telehealth groups related to COVID-19. The call center clinical team will direct members with information and referrals.

Additional resources are available:

  • BCBSM is offering a free crisis hotline for emotional support for members and non-members at 833-848-1764.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.
  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has a statewide warmline for Michigan residents living with persistent mental health challenges including anxiety, depression and trauma. It is available seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. at 888-PEER-753 (888-733-7753).
  • The state of Michigan and Headspace have also launched “Stay Home, Stay Mindful” website with free mental health resources.

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Photo credit: Martin Dimitrov

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